Van Jones gets a new job


Will writes from Washington, D.C. (well, Arlington, Virginia). You can reach him at willblogcorrespondence at gmail dot com.

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22 Responses

  1. Sam M says:

    Well, after people realized what he said, he apologized. So there you go.

    Oddly, people like Yglesias seem less eager to forgive 60-year-old gripes against, say, William F. Buckley.

    Oh well.Report

  2. Chris says:

    Van Jones was one of the original 100 signers of the 9/11 Truther document. I guess you could say that this will be an easy rebuttal any time CAP tries to mock Birthers.Report

    • Zach in reply to Chris says:

      How would that work as a rebuttal? “See, you ALSO once believed in a ludicrous conspiracy theory! How dare you criticize me for my continued passionate belief in an equally absurd conspiracy theory?”Report

  3. Jaybird says:

    Is just asking questions something worth crucifying someone over, now?

    I’m just asking!

    That said, the Global Warming Denialists ought to be put into re-education camps.Report

  4. Kant feel Pietzsche says:

    Hmm, members of what political philosophy utilized re-education camps? Oh, yeah, now I remember. God, I love me some watermelon!Report

  5. Matthew Schmitz says:

    The Van Jones revival is actually proceeding on multiple fronts. He’s just been appointed a visiting fellow at Princeton University as well:

  6. Zach says:

    There are multiple Republican members of Congress that have had stronger connections to the “birther” nonsense than Jones has to 9/11 conspiracy nuts. And an apparent majority of Republican Congressman believe that a conspiracy exists within the entire global scientific community regarding climate science. I am not sure whether the level of Republican support in Congress for conspiracy theories regrading evolutionary biology reaches a majority, but I suspect it does.

    There are any number of conservative organizations, including the Republican party itself, who employ people believing in these conspiracies. Let’s not even get into prominent Republicans who back equally ridiculous Clinton conspiracy theories.

    And, regarding your thought experiment, there are prominent Republicans in prominent, predominantly Republican organizations who are more involved with the birther nonsense than Jones was with the equally-nonsensical-but-apparently-more-offensive truther nonsense. You wouldn’t know it from his softball profile in the New York Times, but Andy McCarthy, Director of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, has written extensively in support of not only the birther conspiracy, but also the theory that Bill Ayers wrote Dreams From My Father. This isn’t a fringe organization;:

    Our Leadership Council of Distinguished Advisors includes former FBI Director Louis J. Freeh, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former National Security Advisor Robert “Bud” McFarlane, former Ambassador Max Kampelman, Sen. Joe Lieberman (ID-CT), and former CIA Director R. James Woolsey.

    CAP’s move is OK, I think, because Jones has acknowledged how ridiculous he was to sign this. As long as CAP is appropriately critical of Jones’ judgment in the future in light of this, what’s the problem? So far as I know, McCarthy is still unconvinced on the legality of Obama’s presidency and the authorship of his memoir.Report

    • Will in reply to Zach says:

      Zach –

      I’ve been on the Andy McCarthy conspiracy beat for some time (see, for example, this post:, and I certainly agree that Republicans who flirt with birther-ism are an embarrassment and should be ostracized. But I think that same standard should apply to liberal organizations.Report

      • Zach in reply to Will says:

        “If a major conservative think tank hired anyone involved in the Obama “birther” movement, I’m pretty sure they would be pilloried in the media.”

        That standard isn’t applied to conservative organizations. See the NY Times profile that I mentioned. It says that McCarthy is also involved in issues like abortion and taxes, not that he is also involved in nutjob conspiracy theories. If any media organization profiled Jones without mentioning his truther connection, conservatives would be bouncing off the walls.

        My point is that many far more prominent Republicans are connected to equally ridiculous conspiracy theories. We could keep going… New World Order, Mexicans taking back the American West, etc. Vaccination hysteria is an equal opportunity conspiracy as far as its partisan basis goes.

        I don’t think that any of the conspiracies I’ve mentioned are more or less ridiculous than the 9/11 truth movement. Every one of them is objectively wrong unless you presuppose an impossibly massive secret conspiracy.

        But, associating with 9/11 truthers is somehow more of a third rail than believing that every scientist in the world is conspiring to trick the world into axing trillions of dollars in economic growth to stop emitting greenhouse gasses. It’s more offensive to deny the reality of 3,000 deaths than denying the reality of changing the face of the earth for a thousand years.Report

        • Mark Thompson in reply to Zach says:

          FWIW – I think Zach’s right here, although it’s worth pointing out that not all those classified as deniers of global warming are conspiracy theorists (this may be true of a majority of global warming deniers, however, though I’m not certain).Report

          • Zach in reply to Mark Thompson says:

            I agree with that; there’s a distinction between people who think or say that global warming isn’t happening, that the earth is cooling, that CRU data is fabricated, etc (the more reasonable end of the spectrum being George Will, James Inhofe is at the other end), and those who think the certainty of the science is overstated, that mitigating CO2 emissions fails the cost/benefit test, or that it’s futile because we’ll never get global lasting global cooperation (ie, China & India won’t be particularly happy stabilizing at a small fraction of America’s emissions per capita for very long). Unfortunately, there are far more people that I’d classify in the first group than the second.

            I also forgot one widely-held conservative conspiracy theory: people convinced that Saddam spirited weapons of mass destruction to Syria and Iran on the eve of war. On the left, you have the 2004 Ohio election theft conspiracy. I admit bias here, but I think that on the balance, prominent Republicans fall for and promote this crap far more often than Democrats. Is there a (D) equivalent to Michelle Bachman? I do recall Kucinich having something to do with chemtrails at one point.

            You can basically disprove any of the conspiracies I’ve talked about by pointing out that thousands of people would have to be aware of them and that any one of them could gain a good deal of notoriety by providing proof of the conspiracy.Report

            • Jaybird in reply to Zach says:

              That’s because the Right has the Masons, the Knights of Columbus, and Israel. They are able to get stuff done.

              You get a bunch of lefties conspiring and you all have to sing the Internationale first, then someone lights something up, then you’re ordering a pizza, and by the time you finally get around to talking about getting something done, most people are making out or asleep.Report

  7. Sam M says:

    “CAP’s move is OK, I think, because Jones has acknowledged how ridiculous he was to sign this.”

    Really? Then someone forgot to tell CAP. From what I see over there, they are attributing his ouster from the administration to terrible right-wingers who took his words out of context. Not that he said something ridiculous.Report

    • Zach in reply to Sam M says:

      Are you saying that his exit from the administration wasn’t fueled by hyperbole and conscious distortion of his record, current positions, affiliations, etc? Here’s Glenn Beck’s best example of Jones’ current radicalism:

      VAN JONES: This movement is deeper than a solar panel. Deeper than a solar panel. Don’t stop there. Don’t stop there. No, we’re going to change the whole system. We’re going to change the whole thing. We’re not going to put a new battery in a broken system. We want a new system. We want a new system.

      Etc, etc which leads Beck to say, “When will America wake up? The left has started a revolution. No different than Hugo Chavez.”

      Obviously, the hysteria over Jones appointment was grounded in simply highlighting his signature on an idiotic and offensive petition and having something to do with Communism two decades ago. Misrepresenting his history had nothing to do with it, right?Report

  8. Nob Akimoto says:

    Center for Security Policy anyone? *Cough*Report